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Shaq vs. Big Show match is on the ropes

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A long-rumored WrestleMania 33 match between Big Show and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal appears to be on the ropes based upon recent comments from both parties.

O’Neal, 44, revealed on this week’s episode of “The Big Podcast With Shaq” that the April 2 match in Orlando, Florida, was “probably” off, but the four-time NBA champion added he would continue to stay in shape just in case.

“It’s not my fault. That’s all you need to know,” O’Neal said. “It has nothing to do with ‘The Diesel’ and his management.”

What’s unsure, as of yet, is how much of this is a work in hopes of drawing more attention to a match that has been teased for over year but never formally announced. Last April, the two had standoff following O’Neal’s surprise entry into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32.

Big Show, whose real name is Paul Wight, added fuel to the fire during an interview with ESPN on Wednesday. He went so far as to mock O’Neal’s physique by comparing him to Jabba the Hutt.

“He has to figure things out in his own camp,” Big Show said. “Maybe he is just too scared to show up because he’s too busy riding around singing karaoke with John Cena and going to Krispy Kreme and getting fatter every week.

“It’s on him. He has to weigh these consequences in his own mind. Does he want the world to know how fat and out of shape he is? Or does he want to sit back and talk shit into a podcast?”

Big Show has lost more than 70 pounds over the past year and paraded his new ab muscles all over social media. He’s under 400 pounds for the first time since 1995, a far cry from his admitted his career-high of 537 pounds.

‪With my trainer Dodd. We’re training for ‘Mania — hope you are too, @Shaq. #CountingTheWeeks

A post shared by The Big Show (@wwethebigshow) on Feb 15, 2017 at 9:38am PST

At age 45, Big Show may not get another chance for a showcase WrestleMania match, and his tone changed to a more serious one during an interview this week with SportingNews.com.

“It is a little frustrating because my [WWE] contract ends in February 2018,” Big Show said. “So I don’t know what’s going to happen between now and then. I don’t know if there will be an opportunity for me next year at WrestleMania or not.

“This was my perhaps my last opportunity to have a featured match at WrestleMania. And I would have had a good time working with Shaq. But this is a situation where, obviously, it’s above my paygrade. It’s between Shaq and WWE.”

The two have a history with WWE that goes back to 2009, when O’Neal was a guest host on Monday Night Raw and got physical with Big Show inside the ring. After their skirmish at WrestleMania 32, the prospect of a one-on-one match escalated when Big Show challenged O’Neal to a match at WrestleMania 33 during an appearance on the red carpet at the 2016 ESPY Awards last June.


It’s unclear whether the issues in signing the match have any correlation with the recent negative headlines surrounding O’Neal’s war of words with Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee. O’Neal’s constant teasing, which some have called bullying, led the Warriors to petition his employer, Turner Sports, to have O’Neal tone it down .

Big Show recently returned to WWE television after a bit of a sabbatical, so it does look like he’s gearing up for an appearance at WrestleMania 33 one way or another.

 

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